How good are typological distances for determining genealogical relationships among languages?
Paper in proceedings, 2012

The recent availability of typological databases such as World Atlas of Language Structures (WALS) has spurred investigations regarding its utility for classifying the world’s languages, the stability of typological features in genetic linguistics and typological universals across the language families of the world. In this paper, we compare typological distances, derived from fifteen vector similarity measures, with family internal classifications and also lexical divergence. These results are only a first step towards the use of WALS database in the projection of NLP resources and bootstrapping NLP tools for typologically or genetically similar, yet resource-poor languages.

ASJP Vector similarity


Internal classification

Typological features.


Taraka Rama

University of Gothenburg

Prasanth Kolachina

Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Subject Categories

Language Technology (Computational Linguistics)

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